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Kingdom Songs

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JW Insider -
Melinda Mills -
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INTRODUCTION:

It's quite possible that people who play a little on a piano, guitar, harmonica, flute/recorder, etc., might want to share their recordings of Kingdom Songs. This might encourage more people to pick up a new (or used) instrument and play a song. Of course, there will be no rule that someone can't also just sing, hum, or whistle. 

Amateurs, like me, posting their performances here could attract other amateurs who might not otherwise think it's OK to post, just because a piece has mistakes. But we could also focus on the less complex songs, and perhaps give some pointers we've learned that might help others. (For example, the places you can safely skip a hard chord on the guitar, or invert a piano chord to make it easier.)

On that note, I'll start soon by picking out the "Top 40" easy songs in the Songbook: "Sing Out Joyfully To Jehovah" and I'll first highlight the ones that are already in the Key of C.

I'll play them on harmonica, and then perhaps on recorder (a simple kind of "flute") and later hopefully, others will follow on guitar, or keyboard/piano, or ocarina. If anyone wants to join in to add their own favorite Kingdom Songs, that would be great.

Of course, this assumes that there will be enough interest in this section/topic/thread.

RULES:

None. It makes sense that more people would find a section like this entertaining if it were not used as a place to make fun of anyone's particular performances. Of course, no one should really expect this idea to be followed. There's always a critic somewhere; some with worthwhile criticism, and some worthless. After all, this is the Internet, where even YouTube comments about a cute, innocent puppy can get downright mean and nasty. Hopefully a "Kingdom Song" topic will fare a little better.

Also, it's more appealing when we do not waste space in this section with comments, rants, or diatribes about Kingdom Songs in general, JW doctrines. Anecdotes about Kingdom Songs themselves might be interesting, but that's not the main idea of this topic. If things get too out of hand, or off-topic, I might be able to move those posts to a new section. It's a forum superpower I've been granted, and I'm not afraid to use it.

IDEAS:

When someone posts a "video" people are more likely to watch than to just listen to a sound file. But when people watch a video, remember that you might accidentally be including personal information about yourself that you didn't intend. (My piano is next to a bookcase with dozens of personal pictures of brothers, sisters, friends, and family.) If this is a concern, you might want to post a sound file. I discovered that I can get a good recording on my smartphone voice recorder app, then email it, and post the attached file directly to this forum through Safari or other browser apps on the phone. It's an m4a file.

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Under another topic, someone ( @Melinda Mills) spoke about some of her favorites from the 1984 Songbook (with 225 songs), and the more recent versions of the songbooks, like the gray 2017 printing, which adds songs and renumbers the songs from the 2009 update. One of those songs was song 115 in the new, which is "Gratitude for Divine Patience."

I'll add a simple harmonica version of it here:

 

 

Song115-GratitudeForDivinePatience.m4a

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The above song 115, was played on a 10-hole Hohner "Chromatic Harmonica" sometimes called a "Chromonica." I have one that I got for $20 on eBay several years ago, and a Chromonica 64 that I played literally 50 years ago. I also bought a used one in perfect condition for replacement parts, and it must have also been nearly 40 years old.

A Chromonica is different from a simple harmonica. A few of the notes in the exact same position are designed to play different notes on one harmonica vs the other. For a simple harmonica, I have Hohner 10-hole Blues Band harmonica. You can get them used for about $5. Each type has advantages and disadvantages for certain types of playing. If you buy a used one, be sure to clean it and dry it very well, with rubbing alcohol, cotton swab, etc. If used, I actually take mine completely apart to clean all the wood and metal. Buy them new, so you don't have to worry about cleaning them, and the terrible taste of rubbing alcohol on your lips.

I will play another song, 42, "The Prayer of God's Servant," which is a good song for this kind of harmonica.

For this particular song, I make both types of harmonicas sound similar, but it is easier to add rhythmic sounds and even some harmonies on the simple harmonica. One disadvantage is that the simple one will usually not have all the notes that you need, because it's usually just over two octaves of the standard 8 notes in the octave -- no sharps or flats. The chromonica has about the same range of octaves but with ALL the sharps and flats that you might need, too.

 

 

 

Song42-ThePrayerOfGodsServant.m4a

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Excellent playing! Thanks for that.  I love that one too. That one is fairly difficult and you performed it well.  The one I was practising is No. 43 in the new song book- "A Prayer of Thanks" in key of C. 

My favourite song though among the newer ones is "Beauty in Grayheadedness" - No. 138.  Just realized that grey is spelled 'gray' in the song heading. Maybe a US thing.

Also thanks for the background information on the harmonica and the chromonica.  Getting an education already.  Off to a good start. 

Also like the rules you laid down int he penultimate paragraph.  (Check messages)

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You played both songs magnificently, JW Insider. I wish I could contribute to this thread with an instrument or even song, but alas I do not play anything, and my voice is nothing special. I wish I had listened to my mum and learned to play the piano, but alas, I was more interested in running through the fields and climbing trees to read a book. HOWEVER, I do think I have some musical talent though, that was just never channeled (lol, lol) and I love singing and music of all sorts (in the classical department Mozart is my favourite, especially his operas, but then I also like many of the groups and bands from the 80' up to the present. I discovered a talented young rock band not long ago; "Greta van Fleet" sorry, I digress,  this is supposed to be about kingdom songs).

I wish that the friends were more into singing and playing instruments, it seem that it was quite common in years past where brothers and sisters would get together to play and sing Kingdom Songs. Trying to get them to do this now is like pulling teeth. At least in America it seems. Maybe this is why the organization has introduced the "original" songs, which sound more like something younger people would like.

I remember as a young teenager getting together with friends who played the guitar and we would sit around the campfire, cook bratwursts and sing "tramp" songs, a kind of folk genre. This original song reminds me of a "tramp" song:

    Hello guest!

There are a few older ones, in our hall in their late 70's and older who remember the days when they would get together to sing. One brother in particular (he is 94) could have sang professionally but he didn't chose that path. I can tell his voice was amazing at one time, because despite his age he still sounds great. I try to do a sing song gathering every other month in our house, and it's so much fun once everyone relaxes a bit. I got quite frustrated with some of the younger ones (the under 60's)  at one time, but discovered the beauty of wine or bourbon. Everyone seems much more cooperative once they've had a few. I also grow mint for Mojito. Whatever it takes!

I apologize, I know the intention of this topic was to post music, and not my blabbings...

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Don't apologize about the babblings, we are not one-dimensional, we are complex people and music comes from the whole person and his experiences. More likely than not you are multi-talented. It just has to be cultivated. In fact we are all musical.  Look how quickly the brothers learned the new songs in 2009 and 2016 and they sing from screens with just words. In the new system we will have time to discover lots of things about ourselves.   I enjoyed what you wrote. People, I believe, are changing because they are distracted by technology. Persons who stick to what humanity is about will always have rich lives and people will always enjoy having  them around. Look at a few videos on Youtube and see how people enjoy singing, playing music, and sincere expression of the human spirit.  They want to clap forever. 

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20 hours ago, Anna said:

HOWEVER, I do think I have some musical talent though, that was just never channeled (lol, lol) and I love singing and music of all sorts (in the classical department Mozart is my favourite,

I like Mozart the best as well, but I believe I was partial to his music since I got a gift of a long-playing LP with quite a few of his concertos when I was at high school.  I used to listen to them over and over again; my eldest brother also became an enthusiast and used to borrow it from me often.  Recently I fell in love with Andante from Mozart's Concerto No. 21.  I also discovered Rachmaninov,  one of the composers from the Romantic period (just after Mozart, Lizst, Chopin, etc)  I think he was a Russian. The pop song, All by Myself is derived, from his Concerto No. 2, Adagio Sostenuto.  I also love singing and was fairly competent at it, but ageing affects one's lung capacity, I believe. 

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I'm happy for the discussions about appreciating music. My father moved us from California to Missouri in 1964 to 'serve where the need was greater' and he was often looked at very suspiciously for all his classical records, and a few other styles, too. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven etc., were generally considered to represent false religious church music by other Witnesses. He had to keep most of these records under wraps, and kept about half of them at his lab where he worked.

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That's a shame that your father had to keep them under wraps.  It was still able  to influence your taste in music and interest in playing music. Reminds me of what happened to people like Galileo and others who had to hide beneficial beliefs from others because of the ignorance of some in authority.  My take is that these gifts are from God, and that they were allowed to come about to uplift mankind when things were especially dark in the world; e.g. lack of human rights, slavery, inquisitions, concentration camps, etc. There was even a period called the "Dark Ages".  Some pieces of classical music are so good that you feel you were transported "out of this world" for a few minutes. ( Look at the comments under these videos of classical music.  Also look at he attendance  at some of these concerts and what people pay to attend.)  Many people in their comments say it is a shame such good music is in the world and few people know about it. Look at the quality of the music that is played daily - cannot even compare.

Look at the Jewish lady (I think she was from Poland) that survived the concentration camps because she could play music to a very high level and they let her live, though other members of her family perished. 

Also a lot of the music written by Handel, for example,  was written for the enjoyment of mankind but the church, being powerful at the time, hijacked it for themselves and called  it church music.

All brothers are not unappreciative. In the seventies on the occasion of a new Kingdom Hall dedication, classical music  was played in the background before the start of the dedication service. We have so much theocratic music now that that  won't be needed now,  that but that is just to show that all brothers are not prejudiced to classical music. 

I have just remembered that Mozart was introduced to me through the high school I attended. Every morning before the school prayers, it would be played on the school stereo until the headteacher came in to start prayers.  Afterwards I got the LP with some of his Concertos.

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6 hours ago, JW Insider said:

...very suspiciously for all his classical records, and a few other styles, too. Mozart, Bach, Beethoven etc., were generally considered to represent false religious church music by other Witnesses.

I guess Missouri is mostly country folk?

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Here is a list of the "simple" TOP 40 (45) songs from the current 2017 songbook. There are a few that might not seem so simple, but they are here because they have a long history in Witness memories, especially for the slightly older ones among us. But even the most complex from pre-2009, are still much simpler than the more complex ones since then. (Although the more complex ones are generally much prettier.)

I have tried to include EVERY current song that goes back at least to the 1966 songbook, and a few of these also go back to the green 1950 and some to the grey 1928 songbook.

These are the "TOP FORTY-FIVE" 2017 songs that go back almost unchanged musically to at least 1966:

  • Note that some have the same title, and almost the same words, but the music is completely changed, and they won't be included.
  • Some have completely different words, even a completely different topic, but the music is almost identical to a prior song, and they will be included.
  • Some have nearly the same melody but with only a very few adjustments, and they will be included.
  • Some have similar music, and the melody is different, but it's close enough so that the previous version could still harmonize with it, or even match it in several places, and if enough similarities are there, they will be included.
  • Some of the new songs were known only through songs repeated since the 1970's in convention "dramas" (72, 110, 149, etc.) and will not be included.

 

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Others that at least partially match 1966 or 1950 songs are here:

    • Hello guest!
      (First part harmonizes, second part matches.)
    • Hello guest!
    (music matches an older 1950 song) 
    • Hello guest!
    (First half harmonizes, second part matches.)
    • Hello guest!
    (Music harmonizes with 1950 song "Dedication," with many of the same words.)
       
    • Hello guest!
    (An old 1950 song.) 
    • Hello guest!
    (Only harmonizes, although words nearly the same.)
     
    • Hello guest!
    (Only harmonizes, although words nearly the same.)
     
    • Hello guest!
    (Only harmonizes with a previously known song, words completely different.)
      
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    (Second part was removed - tho removed part partially included in different new song.)

I think of the above as "easy" because they are so well known for so long, but some of the newer ones are very easy, too. These following two, are just a couple examples, and both are in the Key of C, with no additional sharps or flats in the melody:

  •  
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    • Hello guest!

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4 hours ago, Melinda Mills said:

My take is that these gifts are from God, and that they were allowed to come about to uplift mankind when things were especially dark in the world; e.g. lack of human rights, slavery, inquisitions, concentration camps, etc. It is still dark after the Renaissance, there was even a period called the "Dark Ages".  Some pieces of classical music are so good that you feel you were transported "out of this world" for a few minutes.

I agree. It makes me also think of the amazing artists from the Renaissance period, all of them heavily influenced by the church. But then there was nothing else at the time was there? They didn't know any better.....

I also love Handle's Messiah and Schubert's Ave Maria. And Gruber's "silent night" is beautiful when sang by a professional choir. Of course I would never sing it in front of anyone for fear of stumbling them.

 

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24 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

I have tried to include EVERY current song that goes back at least to the 1966 songbook, and a few of these also go back to the green 1950 and some to the grey 1928 songbook.

Double check - I think the colour of the 1950 song book was red.

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"Ave Maria!, (Latin: “Hail Mary”), original German title Ellens Gesang (“Ellen’s Song”) III

    Hello guest!
 setting, the third of three songs whose text is derived of a section of 
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’s poem 
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(1810) by Austrian composer 
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. It was written in 1825. Probably because of the song’s opening words, Schubert’s melody has since been adopted for use with the traditional 
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    Hello guest!
 (in 
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) of the same name.

Although the song is a prayer, Schubert’s “Ave Maria!” was not written with religious practices or the Catholic church in mind. "   Taken from Internet.

Yes, quite a few of these compositions were taken over by the church but were not written for religious purposes as can be seen in the quote above.  However, I won't sing this attractive song because "Ave Maria" means Hail Mary and one could think we are worshipping her like the Catholics.   There is also a pop song with those words in the chorus which I don't sing either.

On Handel's Messiah,  I can play a small part of the Hallelujah chorus which is in one of the piano tutor books, but I have not had time to listen to it although I have a CD with it, which was given to me. Handel, like Schubert, developed it without the church, but it later came to be required agenda in Christmas services, although it is not really about Christmas.  They say Handel wrote the music but one of his friends (Jennings) wrote the words, part of which were taken from a church prayer book but the majority were from the Bible books prophesying about the Messiah.

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About the colour of the song books, I saw my parents with the red and green one, but I was not aware of these things at that age. Only knew that I used to sing from the green one, but the red one was  hanging around as well.  Thanks for clearing that up.  Will save those pictures.

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

Some have similar music, and the melody is different, but it's close enough so that the previous version could still harmonize with it, or even match it in several places, and if enough similarities are there, they will be included.

Agree.

1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

    Hello guest!
(First half harmonizes, second part matches.)

However, with this one, I was taught the alto for the branch dedication in 1967. However, now the first part has been changed I can no longer sing it.  It was a beautiful alto.  Sometimes I am still tempted to sing the alto for the second portion.

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35 minutes ago, Melinda Mills said:

However, with this one, I was taught the alto for the branch dedication in 1967

That must have sounded nice, with the parts in a real choir. True that the old harmony doesn't work so well with the new melody on parts of the first portion.

The easiest song to learn harmony on (for me) was the old song 5 (pink) now 93 "Bless Our Meeting Together." Most of words have remained intact, too. The tenor and the alto could easily be memorized by others in our service car group. And now the new version is even easier because it's in C with no "accidentals" in the melody.

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32 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

The easiest song to learn harmony on (for me) was the old song 5 (pink) now 93 "Bless Our Meeting Together." Most of words have remained intact, too. The tenor and the alto could easily be memorized by others in our service car group. And now the new version is even easier because it's in C with no "accidentals" in the melody.

I was going to mention this song, and you got to mention it first. This is one of the songs for which the little choir was taught altos.  I can still remember that alto after all these years but I think this song was missing from the book in recent years, if I am not mistaken. I am glad it is back in the book.  I just looked it up. The old one was in the key of D, but this one is in C and just  about three accidentals in the bass. I will add this song to the ones I want to practise on the piano as well as the two you mentioned above. 

 "We thank You Jehovah" is another. The bass is even more beautiful than the alto. I sung the alto the other day and a sister looked back and said, "that was beautiful, Melinda". I think there is one or two more songs for which the alto was taught for that occasion but can't recall them now.   (That brother is deceased now and I am glad that I can still remember these altos - that his work lives on.)  

It is so  good when we have the same appreciation for these things.

 

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